How to Get into Medical School (Hack)


Undergraduates who want to go to medical school must know what factors are important in getting in. The 126 medical schools in the U.S. and Puerto Rico admit 16,500 first-year students out of as many as 36,000 applicants. The number of applicants has been declining in recent years, but the competition is still stiff.
Since most students apply to 10 or more schools, a typical medical school is likely to receive 6,000 applications for a class of 180. About 600 applicants are selected for interviews. Here are the bases on which they are chosen. Don’t forget there are Canadian colleges you can bargain prices.

Dealing with rejection

If an applicant is not accepted, there is always next year. If your GPA or MCAT Scores are too low, spend the next year raising them. If your academic record is fine, but other applicants are given preference, spend the year working in a hospital or other helping profession to prove your commitment to serving people.

More Information

Medical School Admissions Requirements: U.S.A. and Canada, Assn. of American Medical Colleges, 1 Dupont Circle NW, Washington, DC 20036, and Getting into Medical School, by S.J. Brown, MD, Barron’s Educational Services, Inc., Woodbury, NY 11797.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

An admissions committee’s first question is whether an applicant can succeed academically. A student’s grade point average is the best measure of academic competence. Many schools compute an overall GPA and a science GPA separately. Both are important.

Medical College Admissions Test

Since no admissions committee can be familiar with all the colleges that applicants come from, the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), required by nearly all medical schools, is the equalizer. If an applicant’s GPA is a little low, a high MCAT can make a difference, especially if the undergraduate college’s recommendations are strong.


Letters from former professors are read very carefully. If they are strongly supportive and specific about the student’s competence and character, they can make a significant difference. Before asking for a recommendation, a student should ask whether the professor can give a clearly positive report.

The interview and essay

Medicine is a helping profession that requires commitment and compassion, as well as academic competence. The essay and interview are designed to reveal the kind of human being the applicant is. The admissions committee wants to know whether an applicant has the qualities that will make a good doctor.
Qualities: Commitment to the profession, ability to communicate, compassion for people, motivation to complete a demanding course of study. The more tangible evidence an applicant can offer from past activities in sports, social activities, jobs, and home life, the better.

Undergraduate schools

A degree from a top private college may give an applicant a slight edge, but not much. It is most likely to be helpful if an applicant’s GPA is a little low. A student’s course of study is examined for breadth, as well as for science courses. Doc tors don’t spend their lives in a laboratory.
Thus, a grounding in the humanities and social sciences is important. No matter how high a student’s GPA is, if there are too many easy courses on the record, the response will be negative.
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